Broke: Patients Talk About Money with Their Doctor

Univ. of North Carolina. Dec. 2020. 200p. ISBN 9781469661148. pap. $19. MED
MD Stein (health law, policy, and management, Boston Univ.) curated this collection of patient vignettes as a testament to how closely money and health are tied in the United States. Few of these stories are more than a paragraph or two in length, yet each perfectly encapsulates the health-impacting decisions that those living in poverty make every day. Stein interjects little of his own personal narrative, highlighting and centering his patients’ stories. One such example is “Perry.” Stein empathizes with his pain, sharing in his hopes and even a little joy. However, Stein does include some statistics to frame these stories as more than just tales of sadness and woe. Readers will come away with a sense of the public health crisis that exists around poverty while empathizing with individual patients.
VERDICT Recommended reading for those interested in social justice issues, especially around poverty and health; this would also be an interesting supplemental read for students interested in health science and public health careers.

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